Planting peppers is a time-consuming, but rewarding process. Watching your peppers grow to produce the highest yield possible brings a sense of fulfillment that all the hard work was completely worth it. Of course, knowing if your pepper yield is good, bad, or somewhere in-between is an open question. So, how many peppers per plant can you count on?
With all the different pepper types in the market, it is impossible to have the same yield with every plant during harvesting. The number of fruits produced depends on the type of pepper planted, watering schedule, temperature and time to plant, and pollination success, among other factors. That said, the following is a guide on a general number of peppers per plant among the some of the most common types. We look at both the amount of fruits on a plant at any given time, as well as the potential overall seasonal yield if your growing and picking is fully optimized.
Expected peppers per plant (at a time and per season)
A bell pepper is one of the biggest fruits among pepper variants. Generally, peppers with larger fruits often tend to produce lower yields than the smaller ones. Therefore, on average, a healthy large bell pepper will produce 2 to 4 fruits per plant at any time and 8 to 10 bells in a season.
With proper growing conditions and maintenance, one banana pepper plant can produce between 25 and 50 pods, eventually becoming peppers. Over the course of the season, that’s 100 to 150 banana peppers if picked optimally for yield.
A poblano pepper can grow up to 5 feet tall and so wide that you may need to tie its branches to prevent them from breaking. On average, a poblano plant in a typical container or garden (2 feet tall) will yield 4 to 8 chilies per plant at any given time and up to 20 to 40 per season. But a poblano pepper plant allowed to grow to full size (5+ feet) can produce upwards of 145 peppers in a season.
Anaheim pepper is a perennial plant that can grow up to 1.5 feet tall and produce peppers continuously for three years or so. Due to their large size, there are roughly 4 to 8 peppers per plant at any time, and you will harvest around 20-40 Anaheim peppers per plant in a season.
The jalapeño is a medium-sized chili pepper that can grow up to three inches once mature. A jalapeño plant will produce between 25 and 35 chilies at a time, and if picked when green, one jalapeño plant can yield 100 chilies over a season. If you prefer mature red jalapeños, that yield lessens as each jalapeño needs more time on the vine prior to picking.
Serrano peppers are similar to jalapeños in size, but the plants can grow up to 5 feet tall. Each serrano plant produces between 30 and 50 peppers at a time, and over a season a serrano plant can yield upwards of 100 to 150 chilies. Again, it’s highly dependent on whether you’re picking when green or red, among other factors.
Cayenne is a chili pepper plant that originates from South America and can grow to heights between 2 and 5 feet. Since most use cayenne peppers when red, the yield suffers compared to other chilies on this list, but it’s still quite a haul. On average, a healthy cayenne plant produces between 30 and 80 ripe red cayenne peppers over the course of a season.
Thai peppers are tiny, between 2 and 3 inches. So, Thai pepper plants can hold up to 40 to 75 chili pods at any one time. This is a chili that’s often picked when red, so the yield over a season can be slightly diminished. It’s still a big producer, though. Over the course of a season, if picked optimally for yield, expect anywhere from 100 to 150 total chilies.
A habanero plant usually grows tall and can reach up to 36 inches. Since habanero peppers are small in size, you will get higher yields than bell and Anaheim peppers. Expect the habanero pepper to have 30 to 40 chilies per plant at any given time. Expect between 80 to 90 habaneros per plant per season.
Ghost peppers have a longer growing period than many chili peppers, so their seasonal cycle can be one round less than many other chilies. A healthy ghost pepper plant can yield 40 to 50 ghost chilies per plant at any one time, and up to 80 to 100 ghost peppers over a season.
The Trinidad 7 Pot pepper plant has strikingly huge leaves and grows between 2 and 4 feet high. It’s also a slow grower and the chilies are typically picked when ripe. The 7 hot pepper plant produces up to 40 to 50 chilies at a time. Over a season, expect a yield of 80 to 100 total 7-pot peppers.
A mature scorpion plant grows up to 4 feet tall. Expect an average-sized scorpion pepper plant to yield 30 to 40 chilies at any one time, and 60 to 80 over a season (as they are picked when at a full red ripeness.) If it’s a larger plant, the amounts can range up quite a bit.
Known as the hottest pepper in the world, Carolina Reaper will need utmost care during planting and harvesting. With the right growing conditions and proper care, a mature Carolina reaper will produce between 20 and 30 chilies per plant at any one time. Over a season, expect a yield of 50 to 70 chilies.
How can you increase your peppers per plant?
Nothing can be more frustrating than waiting all season for your peppers only to end up with 3 or 4 sickly-looking chilies. If you’ve been there before, you could try these four simple steps to greatly boost your pepper production in the future.
- Start planting your peppers indoors: Depending on your location, begin planting your peppers indoors 6-8 weeks before frost. This gives your plants the longer growing season they require for multiple harvests in a season and enables them to mature fully and produce outdoors.
- Use appropriate soil for pepper planting: Growing healthy pepper plants begins with a healthy environment. If you want to start indoor planting before transferring your plant outside, you will need two different soils, one to start the seedlings and another for transplanting.
- Keeping the peppers in their ideal temperatures: Peppers tend to do well in warmer temperatures ranging between 70 and 80°F. Extremely cold or hot temperatures will reduce pepper yield due to stress.
- Mulching: Mulching the bases of pepper plants leaves them moist and protected, while improving their overall health. Once your plants start transitioning from flowering to fruiting, add some compost as fertilizers.
Reasons why your pepper plant is not producing
There can be many reasons why you’re not seeing great pepper yields, and it could be a mash-up of a few that are causing the issue. Here are the most common reasons to consider if your not seeing the peppers per plant that you’d prefer.
- Weather: Peppers are warm-season vegetables and require 70-80°F during the day and 60-70°F at night. Cool or hot temperatures will retard their growth, resulting in failure to produce fruits or flowers.
- Sun: Pepper plants require a longer growing season with not less than six hours of full sun.
- Inadequate nutrition: Pepper plants need more calcium and phosphorus to produce fruits.
- Blossom end rot: This occurs as a black or brown rot at the lower end of the pepper fruit. It is usually caused by calcium deficiency and happens when night temperatures are higher than 75°F. The rot eventually results in the loss of the peppers.
- Over-fertilization: Too much fertilizer may kill the plant.